UTAH'S FLOOD WATCH

UPDATE: How much will tropical storm Hilary impact Utah?

Aug 18, 2023, 3:42 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2024, 1:00 pm

Hurricane Hilary...

Hurricane Hilary was off Mexico’s Pacific coast late Friday morning. It’s expected to have both direct and indirect weather impacts on Utah over the next few days. (National Weather Service Ocean Prediction Center)

(National Weather Service Ocean Prediction Center)

UPDATE: Hilary has been downgraded to a tropical storm since this article was published. Though, it still poses major threats to some areas of deadly rainfall along the western U.S.. Estimates on its impact in Utah as detailed below should still be precautioned.


SALT LAKE CITY — Hurricane Hilary is expected to provide significant rainfall in parts of the West as it makes landfall this weekend, and will likely have both direct and indirect impacts on Utah over the next few days.

The storm system formed into a tropical storm on Wednesday before developing into a hurricane Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It quickly strengthened into a Category 4 storm by Friday morning as it spins off the coast of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.

The center projects the storm to make landfall in Mexico as early as Saturday night before moving north into the U.S., reaching Southern California as early as Sunday, possibly remaining a tropical storm at that time. The National Weather Service on Friday issued a tropical storm watch for the region, advising that 1 to 8 inches or more of rain is possible in places throughout the region as it makes landfall.

If it remains as strong as it is currently forecast, it would be the first tropical storm to reach Southern California in 84 years, the Associated Press reports.

Where Hilary may impact Utah

Hurricane Hilary’s remnants are expected to continue to move north as it weakens.

Some parts of Utah are in line to potentially receive moisture tied to the storm. The National Hurricane Center’s moisture model, updated Friday morning, shows that parts of southwestern Utah, including St. George, Cedar City and Zion National Park, are in line to potentially receive up to 2 inches of rain from its remnants as it moves north.

KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson says these areas will likely receive “light to moderate” but steady rainfall because of how far out it is from Hilary’s center. If that’s the case, it will be different from the traditional scattered downpours tied to summer monsoons.

The storm is expected to provide heavy rainfall throughout Nevada and western Arizona, as well. Johnson adds that it all depends on the path Hilary takes over the next few days, meaning that direct storm rainfall could end up skipping Utah, or that more parts of the state may be impacted.

“That’s something we’ll have to watch because if the center of the track shifts a little further east, St. George, Kanab, points further north and east can tap into more of that rain,” he said. “As it stands, that track will hit southern California and we’re kind of on that northeast side (of the storm system).”

Hilary’s indirect impacts on Utah

Either way, Utah is expected to experience at least some impacts tied to the storm, though a little more indirectly.

Every tropical disturbance creates a “huge swath” of deep tropical water vapor that surrounds the system, as is the case with Hurricane Hilary, Johnson explains. That tropical water vapor is forecast to end up in Utah as early as Saturday, increasing the amount of vapor already in play from the monsoonal moisture that has impacted the state over the past week.

Johnson said it would “juice up” the existing monsoonal vapor that develops into scattered showers and thunderstorms. This means some areas could receive significant monsoonal rainfall, elevating flash flood risks this weekend. Other areas could be skipped because some added cloud cover may lessen the moisture that falls.

“We’ll probably tap into that. It’ll feel quite muggy,” he said. “The storms are already packing a punch, but it’s just going to reinforce the monsoon that we already have. … The amount of water vapor available to make these thunderstorms is at a surplus.”

While Hilary will move out by early next week, the monsoonal pattern is forecast to end anytime soon. There’s a decent chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms across the state every day for most of next week, with the strongest probabilities in southwest Utah.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Flood Watch

Utah Lake water release...

Alex Cabrero

Utah Lake release sends 300 million gallons of water a day into the Great Salt Lake

The Utah Lake control gates in Saratoga Springs opened Thursday morning to release water into the Great Salt Lake.

18 days ago

(KSL TV)...

Mike Anderson

Tons of sediment cleared from Logan River to protect power generators

Tons of sediment is being pulled from the Logan River as part of a project to clean up power generators.

2 months ago

Crews work on flood mitigation in Eagle Mountain...

Brittany Tait

Eagle Mountain’s project to reduce flooding threat

After an unseasonably rainy spring, certain neighborhoods in Eagle Mountain witnessed multiple floods. 

5 months ago

A man skateboards with an umbrella as it rains in Salt Lake City on Aug. 22. Utah water officials s...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

How impactful have this year’s monsoons been for Utah’s water supply?

Utah's monsoon season is slowly winding down, but not before leaving an impact on Utah's reservoirs in various ways.

5 months ago

A line of storms rolls through Salt Lake Valley on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. (Spenser Heaps/ Deseret...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Flood watches, wind advisories issued as Hilary’s remnants eke past Utah

Several flood and high wind advisories remain in effect throughout Utah most of Monday, and even into Tuesday, as the remnants of Hurricane Hilary move through parts of Utah.

6 months ago

Sandbags were stacked at the Intermountain hospital in Cedar City as the area expected more floodin...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Cedar City braces for more flash flooding

Preparations were underway Friday for flash flooding in parts of Southern Utah, as communities like Cedar City work to make sure they don’t get a repeat of what the storms brought Thursday.

6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

UPDATE: How much will tropical storm Hilary impact Utah?